European Car Servicing Tips for Tough Times

European Car Servicing Tips for Tough Times20 Mar 2020

In the 30 years we've been in business the economy’s had some good times and some bad. We thought we'd share with you some tips which will help keep you safe and with more money in your pocket through these less certain times. These tips are specific for European cars, BMW, Audi, VW, Skoda, Mini & Mercedes Benz.

1. Use the petrol grade which is designed for your car! When ya wallets thin, we understand the temptation to use a 91 when your car is really designed for a 95 or 98 to save a few bucks. In the long run this can be detrimental to your engine and we’ve seen many cars come in which’ve been using the wrong octane that have had to have full engine rebuilds to repair the damages from it. Most euro’s use 95 or 98 – if you’re not sure then please ask us!

2. Mechanical insurance is a smart way to protect yourself from nasty surprises. Despite contrary belief you can get a policy if you have owned the vehicle for a while, but it's easier to get when buying a car. Try Autosure, Provident, Protecta or AA insurance

3. Don’t opt to skip servicing. Missing service intervals is a great way to put your engine at risk of greater damage or miss the opportunity for a mechanic to spot repairs which could be ultimately end up costing you a lot more money down the track, or put you and your passengers in an unsafe vehicle! Servicing intervals are usually 10-15,000km depending on the age of your vehicle.

4. Question your current workshops pricing and experience with your brand of car. Not all workshops/mechanics are equal, prices can vary up to 200% and at the end of the day it’s up to you to find the best deal for you. Don’t shop on price alone though, as most non-specialist garages don’t have the necessary equipment & experience to be very cost effective when servicing and repairing your european car. Some even have to outsource jobs, adding expense to your bill. So it pays to have a dig into your current workshop and ask if they are really the best person to be looking after your car in testing times. Google reviews and asking other european owners can be a good way to check customer satisfaction and value.

5. Use your car less! It’s obvious, but often overlooked. The more your car is used, the more it needs servicing/repairs. Look for alternative transport options where you can, try e-scooters, e-bikes, walking. But best to avoid car-pooling.

6. Ask your mechanic to use second hand or aftermarket parts. New Genuine European parts are very expensive! Ask your mechanic to use a good quality second hand or aftermarket part instead. Second hand parts are often from cars which have been damaged with very low km’s, and at normally 60-80% cheaper than new parts, they’re incredible value. Aftermarket parts have also become far better quality over the last 10 years and you can expect them to meet or sometimes surpass the longevity of genuine parts. Check out our huge range of cars we dismantle for parts here:

7. Only use a garage/mechanic who will ask before performing further work than is initially booked in for! Most garages including ourselves, will always ring you up and advise you if your car does need additional work doing but it pays to ask or set a limit of how much work they can do before they ring up. This is especially important in financially difficult times as not all work is a priority. A good garage will list all the things you could do, and then advise you on the most pressing/important aspects to repair first for you or your vehicles safety. Make sure you use a mechanic which is an authorised MTA or has a similar certification.

8. Ask your garage if they offer a service payment plan where you can pay small amounts monthly or weekly to accrue a buffer to pay for services and any repairs that may come up. SD european can offer you this, please ask!

That’s just a few tips which we’ve seen time and time again here at SD European, and we hope that sharing our wisdom could give you guys a few extra dollars in your bank account and confidence coming into these times which are uncertain. Although it always pays to prepare for the worst, we’re confident the health of us New Zealanders and the economy will bounce back quickly and we’ll be back thriving shortly!

SD European are independent specialists for BMW, Audi, Volksagen, Skoda, Mini & Mercedes Benz Servicing, repairs and parts. If you have any questions or want to chat about any points in the article please get in touch!